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When One Door Closes...
Cedric’s party started off as a reasonable birthday with balloons and cake but turned into an uncontrollable birthday bash of drinking and smoking. I could only see blurs and mirages of random scenes throughout the day replaying in my head. I struggled to escape the living room filled with whirls of smoke and the amount of girls pouring themselves over other drunk guys. I coughed as the aroma filled my lungs to its capacity. As I was pushing and shoving, I ran straight into someone with a black tank top on. I looked up, wondering if this was the girl who brought the beer in the first place, but was surprised to see Jessica staring back at me.
I opened my mouth to say something powerful; maybe I should’ve told her to get the heck out of my way, but all that I said was, “Um, hey Jessica. Sorry for running into you.”
“When are you going to leave?” Jessica hissed, swigging the red plastic cup in her hand. “Cedric only invited you, because he felt sorry for you. He told me last night. No one wants you here. Right guys?”
Two girls, identical in clothing, nodded and laughed evilly.
“Look, Jessica,” I reasoned, speaking over the music, “Cedric admitted to kissing me, not the other way around, so why are you still against me?”
“Oh please,” she scoffed, flipping her blonde streaked hair over her shoulder, “You’ve been chasing Cedric the second he moved here from Detroit. Admit it.”
“I haven’t, Jess,” I countered.
She winced and sneered, “Don’t ever call me Jess again. Only my friends call me Jess.”
I nodded and held my tears in for a long while before holding my hands by my side for a long time, hoping someone would help me, but no one did.
Jessica looked me up and down and called back to her new friends, “Come on guys.” They left in their high heels with so much grace that made me feel inferior.
When I finally reached the door, a hand grasped mines at the door knob. What is it now? I thought. I turned with a groan to meet eyes with Cedric.
“Hey, do you need a ride home?” he asked.
“Haven’t you been drinking?” I argued, continuing my journey home on foot. The sidewalk received only a few shines of light; my sight was still pitch black in the end.
“Um, yeah. Sorry about that—bad idea,” he decided, closing the door behind him.
“Yep,” I agreed, walking on without him.
He caught up with me and turned me around. “Well, how about I walk you home then?”
I sighed heavily and looked at him in the eyes. “Look, Jessica told me why you invited me, so I’m just going to get out of everyone’s way, okay? Happy birthday, Cedric,” I continued walking again in my black flats that matched my black dress.
“Woah, wait,” Cedric insisted. “What did she tell you?”
“That you invited me here, because you felt sorry for me,” I admitted. I waited for him to deny it or say she was wrong, but he didn’t. “It’s understandable.” I took off my flats, half a size smaller, and walked down the street.
“She’s lying,” Cedric called to me. I paused, but kept my back to him. “I broke up with her this morning, Kirsten. She’s not even supposed to be here.”
“What would she lie for?”
“Maybe she’s jealous,” he mused. “You’ve got a lot going for you. You probably don’t realize it, but you do.”
I turned and replied, “Well that makes me feel a little better.”
“Does that mean I can walk you home then?”
“I’d like that,” I smiled, even though I doubted he saw it. After walking in silence, he finally spoke.
“I like this,” he spoke in a hushed tone.
“Yeah,” he answered. “Can I ask you something?”
“What’s the story with you and Jessica?”
I paused, not knowing where this could go.
“I know the fact that I kissed you had something to do with it, but I know something else happened—something before I came in the picture.”
I sighed and began, “When we were Freshmen in high school, Jessica brought cigarettes to my birthday party. I couldn’t do it—you know, smoke, so I told her to throw them away, but she hid a few in my drawers. My parents found them, and I got in so much trouble.”
“Why’d she do all that?”
“Popularity, I guess,” I shrugged. “My grandfather succumbed to lung cancer the same year.”
“Did she know?” he asked, now reaching my house.
“She was with me at the hospital when he passed away,” I croaked. “Anyway, thanks for walking me home.”
“Can I ask you one last thing?” he pleaded. “Can I…can I…umm…”
I stood on my toes and pulled his chin down to my lips and kissed him. His lips met mine with invigorating passion, and I could tell he wanted more, but I let go. He bit his lip and looked down at his feet.
“So um,” he backed away, smiling and disoriented from our embrace. “Um, I guess…I’ll see you Monday, right?”
“Well, duh, you go to school still…I forgot. No, I didn’t forget, it’s just…I’m going to go before I sound more like an idiot,” he rambled, backing away, managing to trip on his feet.
“Happy birthday Cedric,” I added. “I’ll see you Monday.”